The National Crime Agency (NCA) launched an investigation into the recent report concerning the distribution of fentanyl drugs to around 30 countries. The drug vendors were all located within the United Kingdom. Following the high demand for this potent drug, vendors responded by producing them through any available means. The dark web has made it easier for sellers and buyers to make fentanyl easy to access. According to Vince O’Brien, the head of the operation for commodities, “UK dark web vendors target fentanyl users in other countries because of the higher profits. It is very potent and is needed in much smaller quantities than heroin.”
The findings released by the 2018 global drug survey put the UK on top of the world with respect to darknet purchased drugs. Professor Adam R Winstock, a consultant psychiatrist and founder of the survey, believes that the effectiveness of the CCTV on UK streets has pushed vendors online. With respect to this, the NCA has put arsenals together to investigate into the massive illegal drug production and distribution.
Just like the United States of America, fentanyl related overdose death in the United Kingdom has been on the rise. A post mortem examination on heroin users conducted last year discovered traces of carfentanil, a strong fentanyl analog. From December 2016 to May 2018, 128 fentanyl related overdose deaths were recorded.
The rate at which more vendors and users have been attracted to the online black market for this particular drug provides a clearer overview of what might happen in the future. On this note, the NCA has decided to go after all vendors responsible.
Criminals are synthesizing a more potent carfentanil which has been said to be more dangerous for human use. O’Brien revealed that the UK vendors have been successful in the fentanyl distribution because “it can be sent in a small package or moved as a liquid, which is significantly more challenging for us [to discover in our searches].”
In a recent raid it was discovered that Jake Levene, Lee Childs, and Mandy Lowther, operated a drug laboratory that sold drugs to customers in Spain, Canada, the US, Germany, and Norway. Even though drugs are sold to UK users as well, vendors prefer selling them to other countries due to the higher profit margin.
A search conducted by authorities led to the seizure of 677 grams of carfentanil. Lowther was reported to have overdosed while producing the drug and continued after he recovered from a coma. So far, fentanyl has been linked to the overdose death of six people who were believed to had been customers of the arrested trio. They will be sentenced in September.
Drug trafficking, particularly to the UK, poses a threat to the welfare and the economy of the nation. It has been estimated that the trafficking of drugs cost the UK £10.7 billion last year. The threat imposed by the dark web is not only a drug related one. It was reported that Darknet vendors flood the UK with fraudulent train tickets. The UK market also seems to be one of the most attractive markets in the world as the drug price on the streets is one of the best in Europe. With respect to the possible rise of internet users and an increase in online drug vendors, the NCA seeks to put an end to all threats.